May 10, 2010
A recent notice (NOT-OD-10-095) of scientific misconduct from ORI has a curious twist I’ve not seen before.
Scott J. Brodie, DVM, Ph.D., University of Washington: Based on the findings in an investigation report by the University of Washington (UW) and additional analysis conducted by ORI in its oversight review,
ORI found that Scott J. Brodie, DVM, Ph.D., former Research Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine, and Director of the UW Retrovirology Pathogenesis Laboratory, UW, committed misconduct in science (scientific misconduct) in research supported by or reported in the following U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) grant applications:
1 P01 HD40540-01 (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], National Institutes of Health [NIH])
5 P01 HD40540-02 (NICHD, NIH)
1 P01 AI057005-01 (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID], NIH)
1 R01 DE014149-01 (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research [NIDCR], NIH)
2 U01 AI41535-05 (NIAID, NIH)
1 R01 HL072631-01 (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [NHLBI], NIH)
1 R01 (U01) AI054334-01 (NIAID, NIH)
1 R01 DE014827-01 (NIDCR, NIH)
1 R01 AI051954-01 (NIAID, NIH).
Specifically, ORI made fifteen findings of misconduct in science based on evidence that Dr. Brodie knowingly and intentionally fabricated and falsified data reported in nine PHS grant applications and progress reports and several published papers, manuscripts, and PowerPoint presentations. The fifteen findings are as follows:
1. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure that was presented in manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Journal of Virology and in several PowerPoint presentations that purported to represent rectal mucosal leukocytes in some instances and lymph nodes in other instances.
2. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified portions of a three-paneled figure included in several manuscript submissions, PowerPoint presentations, and grant applications.
3. Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure included as Figure 1N in American Journal of Pathology 54:1453-1464, 1999, three NIH grant applications, and several PowerPoint presentations.
What the hell are those doing in there?
Don’t get me wrong, data faking is data faking. I’m not down with that at all. But given the length of the accusation findings in the Notice (there were 15 total listed) throwing in the extra bit about PowerPoint presentations is odd.
“Respondent knowingly and intentionally falsified a figure included in several manuscript submissions, grant applications, PowerPoint presentations, and described in email exchanges with collaborators, conversations in the hallway at meetings and private conversations with his graduate students”
May 10, 2010
But reality is setting in. The 2-year grants will run out in 2011, and when that happens it could cause a nasty shock. Barring a new windfall–and none is in sight–NIH’s budget will drop sharply next year. Much of the work recently begun will be left short of cash. The result could be the lowest grant funding rates in NIH history, and the academic job market will suddenly dry up–especially for young researchers.
Here’s the graph they provide which depicts the NIH budget in recent years.
May 10, 2010
Although my most recent book, The Poisoner’s Handbook, is about murder and the invention of forensic toxicology in the early 20th century, my earlier works have focused on primate research, the science of affection, biology of gender differences, and even a 19th century scientific quest to prove that we live on after death. Does this variety of interests suggest a short attention span? Well, maybe. But it’s more that I’m fascinated by the intersection of science and society – how each changes the other – and by the very human story of science itself. All my books seek to explore that terrain in different ways. The last three focus on moments in the history of science as a way of looking at ideas that have changed the way we think.
This blog is about such moments – past and present – that illuminate the way we think about our world. It may focus on research from the past. It may be about current investigations. It may concern tales from my books, from those already published to works in progress. I welcome all comments, suggestions, and blog ideas.
Did I mention she wrote The Poisoner’s Handbook?